The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos

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On an unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a young girl named

Ivy discovers a chilling secret in the basement of the Rumbaugh

pharmacy across the street from the hotel where she lives with

her mother. The discovery reveals a disturbing side to the

eccentric lives of family friends Abner and Adolph Rumbaugh,

known throughout their small western Pennsylvania town

simply as the Twins. It seems that Ab and Dolph have been

compelled by a powerful mutual love for their deceased mother

to do something extraordinary, something that in its own

twisted way bridges the gap between the living and the dead.

Immediately, Ivy's discovery provokes the revelation of a

Rumbaugh family curse, a curse that, as Ivy will learn over the

coming years, holds a strange power over herself and her own


In his third book for young adults, Jack Gantos has scripted a

completely original drama. With gothic flavor and black humor,

he depicts a group of people bound together by love,

compulsion . . . and a passion for taxidermy.


About Jack Gantos

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Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
Published June 24, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 193 pages
Genres: Romance, Horror, Young Adult, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

Publishers Weekly

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The elderly Rumbaugh twins, two identical men who run the pharmacy where Ivy's mother used to work, have fascinated Ivy since she was a girl.

May 01 2006 | Read Full Review of The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

Publishers Weekly

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With a steady youthful voice,Datz gives an appropriately creepy and compelling edge to Gantos's strange, darkly comic novel of disturbing small-town goings-on.

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But Ab and Dolph have found a way to do something extraordinary to keep their love for her alive something that appalls Ivy, but also makes perfect sense to her, because she loves her own mother as passionately and fully as they love theirs.

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Teen Reads

As a child, she used to play in the basement of the town pharmacy, which is owned and operated by twins Abner and Adolph Rumbaugh and houses a rather disturbing secret: the Rumbaugh twins' love for their mother is a curse, one that makes them take extreme measures when she dies.

Apr 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

SBY Teens

At first, the strong connection she has towards her mother is seen as juvenile craze believing that every child needs love and care but as Ivy gets older and her fear of her mother’s death grows deeper readers realize that this is more than a case of motherly devotion.

Aug 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

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